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When considering most instances of progressive rock, Mumpbeak is a horse of a different color. With four world- class bassists, chiefly performing on alternating tracks, and keyboardist Roy Powell's unearthly sound-shaping mechanisms garnered from an electronically souped-up Hohner clavinet, the band brashly merges a doomsday panorama with insurrectionary tactics.
King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto's punchy and springy grooves underscore the various mind-bending processes, featuring his fellow Crimson band-mate Tony Levin appearing on one track. With a blindfold test scenario, I would surmise that Powell is playing an electric guitar or that I'm listening to a new Jeff Beck album, for example. However, there are moments when the overall clavinet sound is a tad thin, although the deep bass lines on a per-track basis more than compensate.
"Forelock" conjures notions of Crimson's Larks Tongue In Aspic era amid punishing breakouts and Powell's distortion- heavy permutations, twirling notes, and ostinato phrasings. And on certain passages he injects ethereal layers and fuzz-toned treatments. While "Nork" is a piece that attains searching qualities in a sea of phased sounds and the drummer's rumbling patterns. Here, Powell dishes out a psyched-out solo atop bassists Bill Laswell and Lorenzo Feliciati's elongated notes, for a composition that also bridges surrealism with Eastern modalities. Other tracks are designed with guileful and evasive dialogues, sprinkled with free-form improvisations.
The closer "Piehole," is an upbeat space jam where Mastelotto pushes, prods and takes a solo that re-energizes the piece into alternating cadences and a topsy-turvy schematic. Pleasantly insane and markedly outside the box, the musicians ignite dry tinder in a sprawling forest of progressive rock-isms.
Personnel: Roy Powell: Hohner clavinet, FX pedals; Bill Laswell: electric bass;
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: electric bass; Lorenzo Feliciati: electric
Bass; Tony Levin: electric Bass; Pat Mastelotto: acoustic and
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.